1st Edition

War and International Relations A Critical Analysis

By Balazs Szanto Copyright 2021
    268 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    268 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a critical overview of the occurrence of war in the international system by examining the concept from multiple perspectives and theoretical backgrounds.

    War is an essential concept in international affairs, if for no other reason than because prevention of war requires an in-depth understanding of it as a concept. This book seeks to examine the continued occurrence of war in international relations, despite the emergence of arguments concerning its obsolescence. It provides a new cognitive framework through which to understand war as a phenomenon, which can be applied to real-world scenarios and policy issues, making use of case studies predominantly from China and Japan. Theoretically, the book is primarily based on a structural realist framework but adopts a significant constructivist component through the emphasis on identity and reputation in the international system. The volume offers a nuanced yet holistic approach to the theory of war and seeks to engage critically with the major theoretical approaches, pointing out the major criticisms of these ideas and how the theories correlate.

    This book will be of much interest to students of strategic studies, foreign policy, and International Relations.


    Part I: The Nature of War

    2. The Definition of War

    3. War, Identity, and Culture

    4. War, International Law, and Morality

    Part I Conclusion: War and International Relations

    Part II: War Doesn’t Work

    5. The Self-Defeating Nature of War

    6. Better Tools Available

    7. Paradigm Shifts

    Part II Conclusion: The Obsolescence of War

    Part III: Reasons for Going to War

    8. Systemic Explanations

    9. National Characteristics

    10. Practical Considerations

    Part III Conclusion: The Reason We Fight

    Part IV: The Rational Decision to go to War

    11. Rational Choice Modelling for War

    12. The Feasibility of War

    13. The Costs, Benefits, and Risks of War

    14. Foreign Policy Alternatives to War and Making the Choice to Go to War

    Part IV Conclusion: A Tragic but Necessary Evil

    15. "A" Peace versus "Our" Peace


    Balazs Szanto is a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.